Oshkosh arena project begins with groundbreaking ceremony
OSHKOSH (WLUK) --Work has started on a new arena in Oshkosh. It's the future site of a Milwaukee Bucks development, or "D-League" team.
With Wednesday's groundbreaking, the clock is now ticking to complete the venue in time for the 2017-2018 season.
Oshkosh City and Bucks team leaders put their shovels in the dirt Wednesday. The move symbolized the start of the D-League arena.
"The journey we're gonna start today is just phenomenal," said the president of the new team, Steve Brandes.
Although the groundbreaking ceremony was Wednesday, work started weeks ago.
"We've been putting pilings into the ground to support the foundation. So those things are happening," said Greg Pierce the of President Fox Valley Pro Basketball.
Bayland Buildings out of Green Bay is the lead contractor.
"We're putting everything we have on this. We've got all our best people. We've moved people around from different projects on to this project to make sure we hit the timelines," said Dean Hunt, Bayland's marketing director.
The arena project is ambitious. There's about seven months to get the 3,500 seat facility built.
"Our schedule is very attainable," Hunt told FOX 11 News.
Developers said it's still very early in the building process, but they tell us at this point everything is on schedule and they said they really have no choice but to get the arena done in time for the 2017-2018 season.
"We've got a basketball season that begins in November. We've got a team that has to have a place to play," Pierce explained.
Brandes, the president of the D-League affiliate, told FOX 11 he also has work to do, building a team of his own.
"A front office team, the first step, you know, human resources," He explained.
"They are hiring staff. There will be as many as 15 people with the team. I know they started posting job openings," added Pierce.
Brandes told us his team will be working to get the community invested too.
"We wanna make sure that we not only reach out for the tickets, but we wanna make sure we are part of the community and we're ingrained in the fabric of the community," he said.
The long term plan is to make the arena the cornerstone plans for more development in this area, which will be called the 'Sawdust District.'
"We know how exciting it is to have a facility like this for economic development and growth of a community," said Hunt.
We did ask about a possible name for the new team, but no news in that department just yet.